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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

This small house beside Missouri State Highway 176 in Stone County, Missouri in The Ozarks can go unnoticed by passing motorists. This Old House served as The DeLong Family Home in the 1960s. Birthday parties, Fourth of July, Halloween Trick or Treat events,Thanksgiving Supper and Christmas Day Dinner celebrations were held in the three – room house, which had a Laundry Room built on in the 1970s. There was no inside plumbing. Uncle Joe built an Outhouse down on the hillside. While the house did not have the social comforts of some 20th Century homes in The Ozarks; it always felt like “Home” to DeLong family members, who returned to Stone County and the Missouri Ozarks anytime of the year. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home in my childhood was “The Ozarks.”

 

The Ozarks is one of the places in the world, where myth and reality live side by side.

 

You live your life in The Real World and sometimes it seems like you look up and see a wild,white-haired Mark Twain smiling down at you with his pen in hand.

 

The heavy snows of winter fall. The scene looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph on a china plate and then you feel the “bone chilling cold” enter your body. You see your breath. You trudge out of the knee-high snow into the warmth of your home.

 

You “warm” by the large, rectangular, dark brown “Warm Morning” gas stove and realize winter in The Ozarks means Christmas is usually just days away.

 

You get a hot cup of coffee and wonder why people think The Ozarks is “permanently stuck in an 1800s Time Warp.”

 

MV5BMTUzNzE1MjY0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE3MjU1MQ@@._V1._SX359_SY500_If you ever watched an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” you may believe the fictional characters represent “Life In The Ozarks.”

 

You would be wrong.

 

I grew up in the Ozarks and I never ate possum.

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

Uncle Hobert DeLong was a “dead on shot” with a rifle. Every time he went into the woods, he came back with a “mess of squirrels” and sometimes “a mess of rabbits.”

 

Of course, no one remembers Jed, granny and the rest of the Clampett were supposed to have been from Bugtussel, Tennessee and the characters get associated with The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

 

Cartoonist Al Capp made a large fortune drawing the comic strip of Lil’ Abner for 43th years that reached 60 million readers in more than 900 American newspapers.

 

Capp’s newspaper comic strip was one of my mother’s favorites. Capp put the characters in Dogpatch, Kentucky, but as a kid everyone though if you were from The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, then, you must be like Lil’ Abner.

 

I never went to a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dance.

 

Dancing wasn’t allowed at Galena High School in the 1960s. It was an issue that came up with every senior class wanting a “Prom.” The Baptist and Pentecostal churches of the 1960s in Stone County were vocal in their objections and they kept the prom dance out of school.

 

I graduated in 1973 in a “Graduation Exercises” ceremony, but there was “No Prom” because the churches still didn’t allow dancing in school.

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

No matter how incorrect the “hillbilly” stereotype is about The Ozarks. Americans and foreigners seem to cling to the dumb hayseed and lazy cartoon and television stereotypes of “The Ozarks Hillbilly.”

 

The irony is that the Ozarks is pretty close to the center of the United States and it has always seemed like an “undiscovered country” to foreigners and other Americans.

 

My geographical calculations of “The Ozarks” begins from the southern city limits sign of Jefferson City to the southern city limits sign of Little Rock, Arkansas, which is what I always considered to be, “The Ozarks.”

 

Stone County, Missouri is in the southwest section of the state and borders Arkansas, which means, “reckon I grew up one of them thar’ Ozarks’ country boys.”

 

Missourians in the Ozarks joke, “If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will change.” There is truth to that joke. The weather doesn’t always change every 15 minutes, but in a 24-hour day, the weather can change several times in a day.

 

Pen To Paper

 

To put pen to paper and write a story about Christmas in The Ozarks, I will have to set the stage.

 

There are many famous Missourians from United States Army Generals of the Armies John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing to “The Most Trusted Man In America” Walter Cronkite, but, usually the celebrities are known as Missourians and not necessarily, “Ozarkers.”

 

Neosho, Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton put his brush strokes on canvas to paint pictures; I will try to paint a word picture of life in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

Life in “The Ozarks” in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s was like “Tom Sawyer on a tractor and in a pickup truck.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Midwest buckboards and stagecoaches were replaced by 18-wheelers, Greyhound and Continental Trailways buses.

 

Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie dolls could be still found in toy stores in the Ozarks. Overall, Life in southern Missouri had not changed all that much since the days of Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose O’Neill.

 

The Tomato Factories” of Reeds Spring, Abesville, and Galena in the 1930s had been replaced with “The Garment Factory” in Reeds Spring and Crane and Crane had a “Casket Factory.”

 

Fasco in Springfield, Missouri employed several people from Stone County. In 1960, Silver Dollar City was just beginning operations. Branson, Missouri in 1960 was “no threat” to country music in Nashville, but, Nashville musicians would begin to head for Branson, during the 1960s. In the area of economics, “times were tough”, in Stone County and southwest Missouri in 1960.

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

Every nation has an economy. Money flows around in the metropolitan and urban areas, but in rural areas the ocean of money flows into a narrow stream that sometimes becomes a dry creek bed. In Stone County, it seemed even the rocks in the creek bed were usually “bone dry.”

 

After The Great Depression and World War II, the United States economy was strengthening. In the rural areas of the Ozarks, being “poor” is still a way of life.

 

In the early 1960s, the local power companies were working hard to provide, stable and reliable electricity.

 

Stone County, Missouri had a reputation of being one of the poorest counties in The Show Me State.

 

Traditionally in Missouri, statistics reveal “Mining” is the major source of manual labor income for the state. Farming comes in second. There were caves in Stone County, but no working mines.

 

Farming is hard work. Even with good weather and the money to buy seeds, livestock and equipment, farming is a full-time job to make a living.

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

Grandma DeLong like to sum up an economic situation as, “I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on an old settin’ hen with all her eggs rotten.” The purpose of this country statement was to point out that someone was “financially broke.” It was a common financial phrase that you heard in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

By 1960s, some farmers in Stone County had had it with “life on the farm.” Some people sold their farms and moved to other states. Some people stayed on their farms, but tried to get a “public job” at Silver Dollar City.

 

When it came to money in Stone County, Missouri and The Ozarks in the 1960s “people minded their Ps and Qs” and sometimes the lack of money was described as “Trying to get blood out of a turnip.”

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

Corn and tomatoes were the big income producing crops in Stone County, Missouri in my childhood in the 1960s. There were always stories of some of the corn being used to produce “moonshine” and “white lightning.”

 

In the early 1980s, I was “home on leave” from the military and a family friend unscrewed the lid on a Mason jar and asked me if I wanted some of the clear liquid.

 

I thanked him, but decided not to drink the “white lightning.”

 

The geography of Stone County had some cliffs and bluffs in the landscape of the hills and hollers. When the soil was too rough, rocky or poor to raise any other crop, usually the farmer would sew cane and other pasture grasses.

 

Fertilize was not all that expensive, but, the amount needed to nourish the soil and get crops to grow was sometimes too big a chunk of money out of a farmer’s budget.

 

Uncle Richard had one field beside State Highway 176, that the family called, “The Cane Field” because it was too rocky and the soil too poor for any other crop. The cane was used to feed to the cattle in the winter time,

 

Spring and summer usually the crops grew well and there was plenty of pasture to feed the livestock. Farmers didn’t get rich, but they made “the ends meet.”

 

Deep Freeze

 

Winter in southwest Missouri in the 1960s was always Armageddon. Fields were buried under blankets of deep snow. The important contribution of the deep snow and cold temperatures is the weather would kill off chiggers, ticks and snakes as long as farmers burned the brush in their fields and hollers in the early falls.

 

Burning the tree leaves in the hollers that fell kept deep leave beds from filling up the hollers. In the winter time, chigger, ticks and snakes would burrow into the deep leaves to try and wait out the winter until spring.

 

Southwest Missouri’s picture postcard “snows” were efficient in freezing farm ponds, which stayed frozen unless you broke the ice with an ax for the cattle to get a drink.

 

The weight of a Black Angus, Polled Hereford, Jersey or Holstein cow would sometimes shatter the ice and a cow could drown trying to get a drink of water in the winter.

 

Later in the 1960s, someone invented a device to stick in farm ponds in the winter to keep the water from freezing.

 

The deep freeze of the Ozarks in winter would freeze trees. The weight of ice on the limbs would cause the limbs to fall and take down electric lines. If you were lucky, you would be without electricity for a day.

 

On average people usually went without electricity for two to three days usually two to three times,during winter from October through April. The worst case scenario meant you would go without electricity for one to two weeks during the winter.

 

A Country Mile

 

The strength of my childhood came from my family in the Ozarks. Momma, Grandma DeLong, Uncle Richard, Uncle Hobert, Aunt Mary, and Cousin Donna were my family in the Ozarks.

 

In Houston, Texas, I could step out in my front yard. Donna and Debbie Brinkley from the house next door only had to walk out their gate and a few feet to walk into my yard for us to play.

 

In the Ozarks, neighbors always seemed to live a country mile from your front door.

 

Thelma Thomas was my closet neighbor in 1960 and she lived about a tenth of a mile from my front door on top of a hill. Her kids were grown with families of their own.

 

The Galena School District usually included Jenkins and Wheelerville, Missouri, which was only a few miles from Crane, Missouri. And, Crane, Missouri was 10 miles from Galena.The district would extend south to almost Reeds Spring, which was about 15 miles from Galena.

 

Many of my classmates would have to do chores before catching the school bus in the morning. The bus ride for some of the kids meant they were on the school bus for two hours before they arrived at Galena Elementary or Galena High School. After school, they would spend two hours on the bus once it left the school.

 

You would see classmates in school, but the distances and the rural road conditions to their parents’ farms meant that “visits” and social interaction was almost impossible, except for possibly on the weekend.

 

Crane, Missouri was only 10 miles from Galena and we usually only went grocery shopping in Crane on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

Children of the 21st Century will think I grew up in The Dark Ages because there was no Internet, no facebook, no twitter, no computers, no X box, no play station and no cell phones.

 

Yes, there was “Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics.”

 

Fire had been discovered. My father always carried his Zippo cigarette lighter.

 

We didn’t have to use stone tablets and chisels because there was an archaic device called, a typewriter that used ribbons, bond paper and carbon paper that helped people put words on paper for future generations.

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

Telephones were being installed in homes, near Galena and Abesville, Missouri.

 

In order to have a telephone in your home if you lived near State Highway 176, you had to be willing to be on “a party line”, which meant when your phone rang, your neighbors telephone gave off a jangle sound,

 

There was one public telephone booth in Galena, Missouri. The phone booth was on the sidewalk by the US Post Office, next to Floyd’s Barber shop, which was next to Rose’s beauty shop, which was next to the Hillbilly Cafe and sat across the street from the courthouse. In 2011, that area is now a parking lot for The Stone County Judicial Center.

 

The reason why the telephone was so important in 1960 was it allowed Momma to call Daddy in Texas and he could call her from Texas. Grandma and Uncle Richard never had a telephone. DeLong and Warren family members, who lived in other states could call us and we could call them.

 

In the 21st Century, when it seems children own a cell phone as soon as they learn to speak; it may be hard to imagine the importance of a telephone in your home, but, imagine for a moment that you lived in the snow and ice of the South Pole and you were trying to make a phone call to your grandparents in the United States.

 

If your grandparents lived in a city like Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, it would be easy for them to place a call. But, if you lived in a remote location at the South Pole, there might not be phone lines or cell phone towers, so you might not get the phone call.

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

This old spring is on Warren Land in Stone County, Missouri. The Ozarks area of the United States has always been difficult for “people to live off the land” because the soil is poor and rocky. If you need rain; you will get a drought. If you need sunshine;you will get a flood. Nature seems to enjoy working against farmers. Wildlife and insect pest can have a negative effect on crops. The Old Traditional Ozarks Hillbilly concept portrays citizens as dumb and lazy. The truth is an Ozarks Hillbilly is one of the smartest and hard working people, you will ever meet because they use their elbow grease and common sense to work a “Miracle” on stubborn pieces of land to earn a living and raise their families. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

When you think of “The Ozarks” in the 1960s; you understand the word, “Miracle” is a reality.

 

The Ozarks’ lunar style geography of cliffs and bluffs, poor soil, an over abundance of rocks, moody weather, predator wildlife like wolves and coyotes as well as insect pests; it is a “Miracle” that people were able to live, earn a living, and sometimes prosper in this section of the United States.

 

When you are a child, you open your toys on Christmas Day. Underneath the Christmas Tree, you begin to play with the toys.

 

As a young man, you can find yourself trying to decide if you want to go “Home For The Holidays.”

 

As a senior citizen you can sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of egg nog and remember the toys and the celebrations. When you look back long enough at your childhood, you really begin to understand and appreciate the sacrifices that your parents made for you.

 

At last, you can understand, the challenges, costs,hard work and the effort that your parents made to make Christmas seem like a “Magickal Holiday” that simply happens.

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Crafts, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Nature, Opinion, Patriotism, Rocks, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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The Birthday Party

with 6 comments

Plan, Host, Entertain, Celebrate, Reminisce, Enjoy

 

The Birthday Party

1_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 002

In preparation for the party, Christy Warren already has all the furniture moved to an arranged location on the porch. A tablecloth adds prestige to the rustic, rural coconut lumber dining table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr

The day of your birth is obviously the most important day of your life because that is the day your life begins. .

 

The average citizen calculates their year based on the current calendar from January 1 to December 31 each year.

 

Back in the 1980s,the United States Government determined their fiscal year would be from October 1 of one year until September 30 of the following year.

 

I have determined my calendar time-keeping system runs from October 30 of one year until October 30 of the following year. Therefore, my birthday is my yearly calendar.

 

The Most Important Day Of Your Life Each Year

 

My annual birthday anniversary each year is the most important day of my life each year. No one celebrates your birthday before you were born and it is unlikely anyone will celebrate your birthday, once you leave this life.

 

To celebrate your birthday, you need a party. Fortunately, in my life, I had a mother and I have a wife who understands the dynamics of planning and hosting a birthday party. I am a cake and ice cream person, which is all this 57-year-old man expected.

2_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 005

   

The table settings combine the traditional American arrangement of the place settings of dishes with the daily arrangement of a Filipino table setting. The traditional large soup spoon and the fork, common daily silverware in a Filipino home, rests in the shallow soup bowl dishes.

 

The Pancit Canton in the plastic container is the Filipino food that symbolizes “Long Life” in the Filipino culture. Therefore, the noodles in the container are not cut during cooking. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Event Planning

 

Important, prestigious, social events demand professional planning and execution that is equal to, but, fortunately, not as crucial, as military operations. The success of any event begins months, weeks and days before “Zero Hour.”

 

Where the formal event – a party– is taking place in a boardroom on Wall Street or a diplomatic gathering at a building in a foreign nation’s capitol: the event has to be “right.” because it will be remembered and discussed for years to come.

 

Most people will not consider their birthday – a “Black Tie Affair At The White House.” I ain’t like most people. Daddy was a Texan. Momma had a sense of protocol that “There is a right way to do everything.”

 

4_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 016

The dish, in the foreground, is barbeque pork sticks. The pork pieces are marinated for, at least, 24 hours and then placed on bamboo skewers to be roasted over an open grill fire.

 

The next dish is pork fried rice, Tiny pieces of pork, bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables are mixed into the white rice that is then fried.

 

The main dish is Pancit Canton. In the Philippines, there are two major type of pancit: Canton and Bihon. Bihon is the large, fat noodles. Pancit Canton is the extremely slender noodles that is cooked with a variety of vegetables.

 

The last dish is another plate of barbeque pork sticks. The pink plastic pitcher contains Pepsi Cola. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Southern Hospitality

Factor in my Texas aunts and uncles into my life and while I never refreshed with the mint julep, wearing my white suit and Panama Jack hat on the front porch of the plantation mansion – I still got the importance of Southern respect, hospitality, tradition and protocol.

 

Military Customs And Courtesies

 

Then, of course, Uncle Sam put me in numerous situation to work with and alongside protocol officers and sergeants and the diplomatic formal significance of events finally modified my DNA. “An event is always intended to be an Event. It is a moment of time that is intended to be remembered for years and, one would hope generations.”

 

Diplomatic Protocol

 

You do not have to be “The Ambassador Of The United States Of America” to a foreign country to host a memorable event. A birthday party should always be a memorable event because all of us only get so many. . .actually, so few, birthdays in our lifetime. Each birthday should be memorable.

 

If you really want to get formal with an event, then, you come up with a guest list and make sure the invitations go out in plenty of time for people to put the event on their personal business or social calendar. Naturally, you would either rely on your “Official” protocol people or hire a professional party planner.

 

In difficult economic times, you learn to do your homework and develop a to do list of tasks to be accomplished. Fortunately, for me, I married my “professional party planner”, who got exposed to military and diplomatic functions in the United States and overseas. Then, of course, my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren took great pride in briefing Christy on Warren and DeLong Family Traditions.

 

Know Your Surroundings

 

Christy understand the salad fork, lobster fork, soup spoon place settings and napkin ring holders for table settings. While she didn’t have an elegant American dining room to set the party up in, she knew the surroundings for the party location and knew hat had to be done.

 

Flexibility is a military reality and a common sense civilian virtue that always seems to get overlooked in planning.

 

In the United States, Christy had a gas stove, oven and air conditioning to be able to prepare a variety of dishes. She had the silver chaffing dishes with the sterno cans underneath to keep the food warm and she set the table to allow for buffet style birthday parties.

 

In the Republic of the Philippines, she had a two burner hot plate hooked to an RV sized hot plate, a wooden table serves as the kitchen island. She has some large pots and pans to cook in. A curved rebar rod on two small concrete blocks set beside the house will provide the makeshift camping stove that Leneil Saldana usually uses with coconut shell briquets to provide an extra cooking stove for an additional dish like pork sticks.

LENEIL SALDANA_0140_resized

Leneil Saldana

Coconut Shell Briquets

 

In the United States, portable barbeque grills using charcoal briquets and lighter fluid provide the fire for outdoor cooking. In the Philippines, the plentiful coconut shell gets busted up and set on fire. Like charcoal briquets, the coconut shells seem to burn evenly and slowly for a consistent fire and heat for cooking.

 

Temperature is a persistent and, sometimes uncomfortable, reality in the Philippines. The kitchen area is currently “too” open to allow an air conditioner to work in the kitchen area. October’s frequent monsoon rains provides a change in the humidity that makes it easier to cook that in August when the sun reigns supreme over the landscape.

 

Christy Warren always exceeds expectations, regardless of the conditions; which is the mark of a true “party planner.”

 

Fate’s Flexibility Factors

 

Fate loves to dabble in event plans, which is why, it is always crucial to remember – Keep The Plans Flexible. Fate is that mysterious entity always luring in the shadows waiting for the right moment to throw a wrench into your plans.

 

The Battle Of Leyte Gulf Anniversary Week and Tropical Storm Ofel were events that made the event a touch and go operation going down to the wire.

 

I had spent the week researching and writing articles on the 68th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Leyte Gulf because the dates of battles for “Freedom” rank right up there with birthdays in my world view.

 

Then, Tropical Storm Ofel decided to complicate matters by using high winds to knock out the power for six days. When the lights did come back on briefly for about 20 minutes on October 28; a transformer blew and darkness returned. When the power did finally come back on on October 29, I dashed to the laptop and began editing photos and polishing the copy for an article for my blog.

 

The sun rose on October 30, 2012 and once I saw that my Sam I Am Blog article was published. I could finally get a good night’s sleep. At around 8 a.m., I decided to get some sleep. “Happy Birthday to me.”

CHRISTY IN WHITE 017_resized

Christy Warren – Party Planner

Christy The Birthday Party Planner

 

Meanwhile, Christy already had her own plans underway, My wife is a Leo, a Fixed Sign. Fixed Sign Zodiac people have their own way of doing things.

 

Leo is the one sign of the Zodiac that is “Born To The Spotlight.” More actors, kings, queens,princes, and princesses are born under the sign of Leo than any other Zodiac sign. In my experience, if a Leo is your party planner, you may as well take a “nap” because they have the situation handled from the git go.

 

While I slept, Christy went to the local market and bought the fresh vegetables for the dishes to be cooked. She directed the kids on where to move furniture and prepared the meal. When I awoke in the afternoon, after my Rip Van Winkle nap, the only task that remained for the party planner and our nephews was to set the table.

 

Ranilo and Rayniel Saldana, my nephews, took their own initiative, and allowances, to select the chocolate cake, icing and the decorations to go on the birthday cake.

 

I heard Christy tell the kids the birthday party was “semi-formal”, which meant T-shirts, walking shorts and sandals were the attire for the Philippines’ afternoon heat and the dining area on the porch.

 

The tablecloth hid the rustic dining table’s humble rural coconut lumber origin. The plastic light green chairs replaced the usual wooden bench seating that goes with the table. The plates and the silverware setting were what you would expect for a traditional birthday party table.

 

Birthday Party Cuisine

 

The menu consisted of barbeque pork sticks, pork fried rice and, of course, pancit canton. In the Philippines, pancit canton is long, skinny noodles cooked with slices of carrots and other vegetables.

 

Pancit Canton is the food served to symbolize “long life,” so the noodles aren’t cut and you have a food that has those lengthy spaghetti style noodles that you either wrap around a fork or lift high up to get in your plate.

 

A couple of plastic pitchers filled with Pepsi Cola for the kids and, of course, coffee for Sam. While everyone ate and talked, I looked around the table at the faces and smiled because I thought of family and friends back in the United States.

Family And Friends Faraway_resized

Family And Friends Faraway On a family outing to the beach, earlier this year, I shot the photo of these local fishing boats on the shore. The number of fishing boats on the beach are symbolic of a family. The Pacific Ocean in the photograph is a reminder of family and friends faraway.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Family and Friends Faraway

 

I thought of Cousin Donna and wondered if she would be going to play the slot machines in the casinos anytime soon and wished that we could check out the casino that I spotted on Clark Air Base.

 

I wondered if Ken Sexton is still working with the local Vietnam Veterans’ group and performing color guard functions for military funerals and at public events.

 

I imagined Wade Martin is still driving a Galena school bus and would be amazed to see that farming in the Philippines is a lot like farming in the United States. I was surprised earlier in the week, to stroll along and notice a Jersey heifer munching on the tall grass in a nearby barangay.

 

Nancy Campbell, a close friend of mine and my wife, Christy, had left Missouri and moved back to a small town in Texas. Every time I see a motorcycle in the Philippines, I am reminded of Nancy – there are a lot of motorcycles in the Philippines.

 

Nancy is one of those people you meet in life and would never imagine her “headin’ out on the highway . . . on a Harley.” But, Nancy said that in her 20s, she enjoyed the wind through her hair and the feel of the open road stretching out across the horizon.

 

It is nice to image, Nancy,in her Harley leathers riding along the open highway flashing past those square black signs with the proud white Lone Star State crest brandishing the highway numbers.

 

I wondered if T. Michael Ottens still lived in Elkins, West Virginia. We were classmates back at School Of The Ozarks, back in the days before computers, the Internet, facebook, twitter and cell phones. We didn’t have to use stone hammers and chisels to do our homework, but, typewriters, like their children the computer – weren’t always cooperative.

 

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Jake Slusher, my “runnin’ buddy” back at Kadena Air Base Okinawa probably is a grandfather by now living somewhere in the United States. . .or possibly, in the Philippines.

 

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Bobby Thomas, a “runnin’ buddy” and fellow Air Force newspaperman was putting down roots somewhere in Japan, years ago, when I caught the “Freedom Bird” out of Okinawa.

 

J.R. Baker, was my roommate, back in my Bossier City, Louisiana, days. I saw J.R.. years ago. and he had went into the United States Army and went up in rank. I would be surprised if J.R., did not retire as a United States Army command sergeant major because he always understood, “The System.”

 

Greg Pyron, my friend and classmate at School Of The Ozarks, I learned had become a grandfather. Greg always had the award-winning smile and his code of personal appearance each day, looked as though he litterally stepped out of the pages of “GQ” magazine. He became the living embodiment of “The Classic American FM Voice.”

 

Greg had the soft, distinct voice that merged with the air in a room full of girls and women. Greg would speak and you would see a change come over the women in the room. A twinkle would appear in their eyes and the emerging smile on their lips confirmed a flight of fantasy had begun in their minds along the lines of Harlequin Romance novels.

 

In college, at radio station KSOZ-FM, Greg helped me overcome my fear of “The Open Mike” and taught me ways to relax behind the microphone.

 

Michael Roy Truly Rogers, my contemporary hero and classmate at School Of The Ozarks, had a dream to work at radio station WLS-AM Chicago. I heard that Mike’s dream came true. Mike, a handsome man, took the 1970’s James Dean Rebel Approach to life.

James Dean, the young Hollywood actor, became “The Immortal American Teenage Rebel Symbol Of The 1950s. Mike Rogers’ approach to life took the basic “rebel” idea and slipped on the contemporary 1970s wardrobe. He usually wore T-shirts and denim jeans cut-offs. He had a distinct deep voice that had almost a James Earl Jones quality, with the Wolfman Jack energy.

 

In a room full of girls and women, Mike would smile,speak and the women be “mesmerized” into a Count Dracula state of hypnosis.

 

Little girls would bounce up and down like they were on pogo sticks, teenage girls would swoon, middle age women would have a motel smirk curl the smile of their lips and senior citizen “granny” women would smile.

 

The transition of “granny” age women happened in the eyes. You could watch them blink away the years, and the innuendo smile on their faces would suggest their minds were “rewriting” a fantasy that had Mike as one of their beaus, center stage, in their past.

 

The Ladies Men” – Mike and Greg

 

I always admired Mike and Greg because their “Radio Disc Jockey Voices” seem to give them an almost uncanny power “over” women or the audio quality to get through to women at any level, virtually any time they seemed to wish it. They had made “Star Trek’s Mr. Spock Mind Meld Technique”as easy and natural as breathing and it seemed “every woman on planet Earth was powerless against the suave, debonair voices of Mike and Greg each with their distinct traits.”

 

Mike always seemed more aloof and not as easy to become friends with as Greg. Mike was only about a year older than me, but, I looked up to him like he was a respected, revered, wise, sage elder. And, Mike also helped me to become relaxed behind the microphone and proficient, even skilled, at operating the controls of a radio station in the control room. At KSOZ-FM, we classified Mike as the living, breathing, embodiment of “The Classic AM American Rock Disc Jockey Voice.”

 

I like to imagine that Mike is still working as “an AM Rock Jock” and teaching legions of future broadcaster how to pull off a contemporary Wolfman Jack voice with such class and style that listeners tune in every morning to get the Walter Cronkite credibility and the adrenaline voltage to take them from their morning coffee and newspaper straight to the boardroom to close million dollar deals without batting an eye or breaking a sweat.

 

The Birthday Party Guests

 

My family and friends in the United States, weren’t seated around the table for the “birthday party”, but, the fact that they were in my mind ,reminded me, that I was grateful of the roles each of these people had played in my life and to me – it meant they were at the birthday party.

 

I looked around the table at Edwin Mora, Christy’s cousin and a local hog farmer, who smiled at his wife Babysel, who leans back in the chair to accommodate her prominent pregnant stomach. “The Babysel Watch” began October 26 and the “bouncing bundle of joy” is apparently taking his or her time to get their itinerary in order.

5_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 021

 

Rachel Mora, smiles at me and drops down out of the chair to check on her little brother, Randolf Mora, Leneil Saldana passes her husband, Ramon, Christy’s brother, the platter of pork sticks. Ranilo Saldana concentrates on the pork fried rice on the plate, in front of him.

6_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 027

Rafael Saldana,Christy’s brother and a coconut farmer, adds some more pancit canton to his plate. Nieces Vanissa Saldana and Junea Tanahale had errands to run with Virgie and Esmeralda, their mothers, so they were not at the party.

7_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 029

 

Christy waves to her Aunt Pising walking by and she turns around and walks into the birthday party. Mano Bito, a local rice farmer, strolls into the party. Everyone is talking in Tagalog and Waray and I am truly enjoying Christy’s pork fried rice and “finger lickin’ good barbeque pork sticks”. Young Rayniel Saldana looks at the birthday cake and at me – I get the message.

 

Five-Star Birthday Party

 

Rayniel’s big eyes looking at me brought me out of my mind and back into The Real World.

 

English ?

 

Tagalog ?

 

Waray ?

 

Language is not necessary, when the cake remains to be cut and the containers of cold ice cream are placed on the table.

 

One nice thing about being a cigarette smoker, your lighter to light the candles is always in your pocket and ready to use. I lit the candle and made my wish. I blew out the candles on the first try. The cake and ice cream went around the table to the smiling hungry faces of the children.

 

Once again, Christy had planned, prepared,and hosted a five-star birthday party that became a successful reality. She created delicious dishes and provided the relaxed atmosphere for conversation and reflection that is needed for any event or party to be memorable.

Philippines’ Ponder Points

 

It has been less than a year,since we returned to the Philippines. Life has proven that you are never too old to learn. Your expectations overall don’t always work out the way you think they will – that is a “life lesson” that I seem to get reminded of each year.

 

My After Action Report for 2012

 

One of Uncle Sam’s requirements I have held on to. After important events, the United States Government always takes the time to reflect and collect data on an event to see if it achieved the goals.

 

If the event is an annual event, then, what needs to be done next year to make sure the event Is a success. Watch your Hollywood movies and the actors playing government officials, diplomats, generals and admirals are always talking about their “Sitreps” – situation reports – and their “After Action Report.”

 

I sat at the table, lit a cigarette, sipped my coffee and thought about “My After Action Report” for the current year.

 

Overall, though, when I stop to remember the day we arrived at the airport in Manila and looked at where we stood on October 30, 2012, like they say, in the old commercials, “You’ve Come Along Way, Baby.”

CHRISTY AND VANISSA_6205_resized

  Christy Warren, and our niece, Vanissa Saldana stroll, in front of< Robinson’s Place in Tacloban City to go “shopping.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

  NIKON D 100 Photo 0010_by Samuel E Warren Jr  Junea Tanahale, our niece, makes a flower arrangement. “Aunt” Christy Warren, one summer morning, instructed Junea and Vanissa Saldana on the way to do the formal place settings on a table and instructed them on making flower arrangements. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Christy and I have learned a lot in less than a year. There are obvious similarities between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States and there are some significant differences between both countries, even if you lived in a rural area of the USA.

 

I could look around the table at the faces and remember moments from earlier in the year when we bought the refrigerator, but it was only delivered to the side of the road because the yard was too soft for the truck to take it all the way, so family members carried it to the house.

 

Life’s On The Job Training

 

Ramon, my brother-in-law has always been more like a son to me. When I was a young G.I., Ramon lived with Christy and I,in Angeles City, near Clark Air Base, and went to school.

 

Now, Ramon is a man with a family of his own. A mechanic, Ramon has become a self-taught carpenter. He built a wall-mounted shrine for the living room. Then, he used bamboo and concrete and built an impressive hog house..

HOG HOUSE_resized

HOG HOUSE

in this photograph the second pen of the house house is still under construction. The first pen already had two hogs rooting around the pen. Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., built this hog house. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

SARI SARI STORE BUILT BY RAMON

SARI SARI STORE built by Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.

Ramon is a self-taught carpenter. He built a hog house and, then, built a Sari-Sari Store in Barangay Baras. In this photo, Ramon and a visitor sit in front of the small store. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

We had been fortunate to go to the beach and go swimming a couple of times this year. We had all survived. My Canon EOS 40 D camera didn’t. An accidental dip of about 30 seconds in a big wave must have been too much for the onboard sensors. Fortunately, I had a Nikon on standby.

 

Division Downsizing

 

A US Army-sized division of distant relatives had greeted us at the airport in Manila and a battalion of distant relatives had escorted us to Leyte. As the fiscal budget year wore on , Christy and I didn’t always sign off on proposals like the Manila based 10-wheeler cargo trucking line to Leyte.

 

The companies of disgruntled, distant relative began their own “downsizing” and “redeployment” back to the island of Luzon and the municipalities of Angeles City and Manila.

 

Warren-building

 

While the United States Government, Iraq and Afghanistan continue their “Nation-building” of governments, infrastructure nad cultures, Christy and I have been involved in Warren-building on the island of Leyte. I have concentrated on my photography and writing articles for my blog. Christy has concentrated on the renovations to turn One Warren Way from an unused rice mill building into a home.

 

Christy got her dream of the CSW Cafe in Tacloban City. Eight kids began the school year at One Warren Way, Four kids went “Republican” and exercised an “Exit strategy” to “retired” to somewhere else on the island of Leyte.

 

All in all, it has been an exciting year of challenges, successes and a couple of disappointments. Christmas is beyond Halloween, so that future operation is under Christy’s chain of command.

 

My significant shortfall, this year, is that I didn’t plan far enough ahead for the kids to have a “Halloween Party.” I had hoped they and their friends would be able to have the Halloween costume party at the house. The Halloween custom seems to be catching on in Manila, but, has, yet, to make it to rural Leyte.

 

My Holiday Is Halloween

 

Halloween is “my holiday” and is the other day of the year I look forward to each year. I have my mother to “Thank” for the Halloween Party memories.

 

As a small boy in rural southwest Missouri in the 1960s, “birthday parties” were an uncommon idea. There were no McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, or any other fast food restaurants to offer birthday party plans in nearby Branson, Missouri in 1960. Silver Dollar City had just recently opened their gates and the old white clapboard Abesville grade school stood across the gravel road from the brick school house.

 

The old Abesville Grade Schoolhouse was the classic small white schoolhouse with the steeple and red roof that you see in the Hollywood movies; it had retired as a schoolhouse and had become the meeting place for the Abesville 4-H Club.

 

Halloween And Birthday Party Tradition

 

Beginning in the first grade, my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren set a precedent: my birthday party.

 

Kids in rural southwest Missouri really didn’t have birthday parties in the fall and winter months. Your classmates didn’t live blocks away; they usually lived miles away.

 

School District Logistics

 

The Galena RII School District would have kids who lived a few steps from the Reeds Spriing school district get on the yellow bus to made the arduous commute to Abesville Grade School or Galena High School each morning.

 

Meanwhile, kids in Wheelerville, Cross Roads, and Jenkins would watch the yellow school buses of the Crane School district pass by their farms, while they waited patiently for their Galena school bus.

 

Thus, Galena school students from, near Reeds Springs, and from near Wheelerville, Cross Roads and Jenkins, were like American G.I.s because each morning they had to “deploy” for the long bus ride to and from Abesville or Galena

 

The students might spend about two hours on the bus each morning before they ever arrived at school and then two hours each night before they ever reached home. The School District Logistics Of Travel each morning and evening worked against the childhood opportunities to attend a birthday party.

 

Weird Weather

 

The fall weather, in October, was always as uncertain as the promises of a politician; the weather changes quickly in southwest Missouri in autumn.

 

The weather for Halloween in southwest Missouri is usually like a Wes Craven or John Carpenter horror movie where the London fog meets the Seattle rain. Some years, the skeletal bone-chilling cold would sink through your coat and speed your steps The tips of your nose would tingle in the cold. You could feel the sting of the biting cold bite into your ears, The weird weather of Halloween seemed to exercise demonic persecution of children, who just wanted to get a few pieces of candy.

 

It seldom snowed on Halloween, in my childhood, but, the dismal, eerie, cold. Damp, depressing feel of the weather always kept children close to home. If you were lucky, your parents might drive you to Galena, so you could go “Trick Or Treat” at a few homes.

 

By the 1980s, officials at the Stone County Courthouse had arranged a Halloween Party to allow the kids to “Trick Or Treat” in a more fun and less “survival expert” way to celebrate Halloween.

 

Momma’s Miracle – My Birthday Party

 

In the 1960s, in southwest Missouri, the idea of autumn and winter birthday parties and Halloween Parties were as vague as the dream of the Internet.

 

My mother talked to Mrs. Russell, my first grade teacher, My birthday party and the class Halloween celebration became an annual event that continued each year for seven years; right up until my classmates and I entered the eighth grade at Galena High School.

 

Momma would bring the big vanilla sheet cake that always had my “Happy Birthday” greeting and “Happy Halloween” lettered in icing on the cake. The Kool-Aid with the cake gave me the reason to look forward to my birthday and the other kids commented that when they saw the cake they knew it was time for Halloween.

 

At 57, I can look back on a successful birthday party, remember the fun parties of childhood, and make a note to plan for the nephews a Halloween Party for next year. Then, again, I think I know a party planner up to the challenge of hosting a Halloween party: “Christy, honey, what do you say, for next year, we plan,for the kids, a Halloween Party?”

 

Christy ?”

THE CAKE_Happy 57th Birthday Samuel E Warren Jr Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr 029 - Copy

The Birthday Cake

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

November 4, 2012 at 5:41 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Observances, Opinion, Philippines, Photos, Stone County History

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Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ? Summer Photo Feature

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Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ?

Into James River

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Fisherman carries his catch of blue gill from the James River. “Galena, MIssouri – Float Fishing Capitol Of The World” – Before Table Rock Dam became famous for water sports, anglers came to Galena and the James River to go “float fishing” from the 1930s through the mid 1960s. In 2011, visitors and tourist still journey to the waters of the James River around Galena to canoe and kayak. Still some people bring their fishing pole and fish from a boat, one of the banks or wade out into James River. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One of those weeks. Everything that can go wrong – Did.

The temperatures have been through the roof – and you felt like you were sweating in the shade. How many more hours until the week end ? You can’t wait to kick your shoes off and just kick back and relax. Have you already made your plans for the weekend ?

A Chair To Relax In On A Bank Of The James River – One local landowner has the right idea. Pull up a chair and watch the canoes float by. Bring your chairs to the gravel bars of the James River and relax. But, please, leave this man’s chair alone. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Grocery prices seem to keep rising. And, gas prices are out of this world with no end in sight. The TV news and

Secluded Cabin on a bank of the James River at Galena. The heavy rural foilage and vegetation in and around Galena make it a paradise for people who want to get back to “The Great Outdoors.” The James River weaves in and around the countryside, which is still home to deer, raccoons, wild turkeys and foxes. The massive bluffs ov Horse Creek that look down on James River will amaze tourists and inspire photographers. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

the news stories that show up on your computer make it seem as if the “Whole World Is Going Nuts !” Thank God for the Week end.

How many hours until the week end ?

If you are looking for an idea to relax. Consider James River. If you live in northern Arkansas or southwest Missouri, then, one way to relax and get away from the cares of the world is to kick your shoes off and wiggle your toes in the waters of James River.


Bring a fishing pole and fish off the banks of the James River or relax on one of the gravel bars and just watch children playing in the river.

Galena. Missouri is a small town of under 500 people, in southwest Missouri, near Springfield, Republic, Nixa, and Branson on the banks of the James River.

You can spend the day on the James River and should still be able to drive into Branson for an evening music show.

Sitting In The James River – Sometimes a writer and photographer has to leap into a subject with both feet. On this day, I waded into the James River and found a shallow spot to sit in the river and let the water flow around me.I also promised myself if I ever win the Missouri Lottery that I would buy one of those waterproof housings for my camera. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In The James River – In the Spring and Summer, there are shallow places in the river by Galena, Missouri, where you can wade into the river or relax on a gravel bar. If you pay attention to the current, you can sit in James River and lean forward with your camera and get a photograph of the water flowing under the Y Bridge. Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr.

If you have a short canoe trip in mind, then, you might consider putting in at Horse Creek, which is basically about

Man’s Best Friend Stands Guard On A Gravel Bar In James River. One pet owner brought his dog to allow the animal to be able to “dog paddle” and swim in the river. Later the dog, got comfortable and stretched out to enjoy the afternoon sun. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

half-way between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.

Time To Shove Off – Weekends and days off, during the Spring and Summer, are times when you can put a boat, bass boat, canoe or kayak into Missouri’s James River at different points along the 130-mile waterway and enjoy a day of boating or fishing. This boat rests on a rock on a bank of the James River, near Galena, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

TOP SECRET – STONE COUNTY

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

This article is my observations of growing up in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s. Stone County is a rural southwest Missouri county that neighbors Taney County, which is usually most famous for being the home of Branson, Missouri.

Stone County is a rural conservative county. Politics centers around a “fanatical”, i.e., “die hard” support of the Republican party. There are more than 150 churches in Stone County, which usually has the Baptists ranking above the other Protestant religions. Usually, the Pentecostals rank a close second. In terms of economics: Stone County at the end of the 20th Century would be considered a poor county, even in a depressed U.S. economy.

Galena, Crane, Reeds Spring, Cape Fair, Kimberling City, Abesville and the majority of Stone County towns are the classic Sinclair Lewis and Norman Rockwell “small town American towns.”

This is the county, I grew up in.

In 2010, Stone County really hasn’t changed that much, except the Stone County Sheriff’s Department now has more than 20 deputies.

The article is my observations and analysis. I hope you enjoy the article.

Junior Warren
Editor,Writer, Photographer, and Stone County, Missouri Old Timer

A Stone County Old Timer Editorial

Top Secret – Stone County, Missouri

by Junior Warren

Step up to the cipher lock of the massive steel doors and punch in the numbers.

Slowly, the six-inch thick steel doors part and open outward. The rotating red beacons, beside the doors, comes to life and tosses out their rays of crimson light.

You step through the doors.

Once inside, you continue into the secure subterranean area. Technology transforms nature’s large cave into a complex secure government facility miles down inside the earth. You stroll along the asphalt path lit by the uniformly spaced overhead recessed cavern lights. The massive underground bunker doors halt. The twin doors sensors scan the entrance. The concealed infra red beams scan the opening. The motion sensors and surveillance cameras confirm no unrecognized heat signatures.

The massive twin steel doors move and swing close. You hear the metallic thunder click of the massive steel vault locks in the doors seal behind you.

“Welcome to Stone County, Missouri.”

You’ve just stepped into Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s.

Stone County, Missouri of the 1960s
really isn’t that different from
Stone County, Missouri in 2010.

Area 51 – Midwest

Long before background checks or America’s Gated Communities of the 1980s became fashionable, Stone County, Missouri was essentially an Area 51 in the Midwestern United States.

People are familiar with the “Southern Hospitality” of the southern states and their cities; “Ozark’s Hospitality” can be ever bit as friendly, but, has to be earned over time. You don’t just show up and 24 hours later expect to be treated like a long lost friend. People in the Ozarks have to get to know you and “warm up” to you.

Growing up in the Ozarks in the 1960s was a lot like living inside a secure enormous government facility. You felt protected from the Outside World. The terrain of Arkansas’ Boston Mountains could be considered the southern most boundary. The usual belief is the northern most limits of the Ozarks imaginary boundary stops a few miles south of Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capitol. The natural terrain of the Ozarks area in the 1960s always gave the residents a sense of maximum security.

In the years before cell phones and computers, the height of technology was black and white televisions tuned to any one of the two local stations Channel 3 – KYTV, or Channel 10, KOLR. Both stations usually signed off at midnight, Monday through Friday.

Party Line

You got on a waiting list to get telephone service. When you finally did get a telephone, it would be a Party Line. Thus, when your phone rang it meant at least three other people on the phone line would hear their phones “jingle.” People on the party line knew you were getting a phone call because their telephones made a muffled rumbling sound like a phone trying to ring under a pillow. In those days, eavesdropping tended to be a major pastime for some people. It was obvious because some of the information that you and the caller talked about would usually become public knowledge from Abesville to Galena a day or two later.

Keep Watching The Ozarks

There were three popular local radio stations KWTO – “Keep Watching The Ozarks, “in Springfield, 40 miles away from Stone County, Missouri and KTTS, also in Springfield. Some people would tune in to KSWM in Aurora, Missouri, also about 40 miles away. These were the three local radio stations that were usually listened to in the 1960s in Stone County, Missouri.

The Springfield newspaper

The two major newspapers were The Stone County Republican and the Springfield Leader and Press, which was usually just called the Springfield Newspaper. If you lived in Crane, Missouri, you might subscribe to the Crane Chronicle, but, in the early 1960s, that newspaper usually didn’t circulate to far outside the Crane city limits.

People didn’t lock their doors day or night. They left the keys to their cars and pickups in the ignitions.

The nearest hospitals, in the 1960s, were about 40 miles away. You would drive north 40 miles to Springfield or south, “as the crow flies” to Aurora. The Skating hospital was being built in Branson in the 1960s.

The geography and infrastructure of southwest Missouri in the 1960s, essentially kept Stone County, Missouri as isolated and as mystical America’s legendary “Area 51.”

Stone County’s Top Secret Security Measures

Stone County’s Greatest Security Measure in the 1960s were the people.

Visitors were usually uncomfortable on their first visits to Stone County. Time and again, the comments were, “people in Stone County are stand off-is” It was true. All non residents were simply “Strangers.”

No amount of background checks, security clearances, security badges mattered to the residents of the time. If you lived outside of Stone County, Missouri you were a “Stranger.” Whether you were the President of the United States of America or the Governor of Missouri; it did not matter. If you didn’t live in Stone County; you were a “Stranger.”

All strangers had to earn the trust of the local citizens. It was a slow process. Most visitors didn’t understand it.

While most visitors in the 1960s came to Stone County expecting to find a “Beverly Hillbillies Hospitality;” they were disappointed. True, some men wore overalls and grandmothers worn nondescript cotton dresses. No one was jumping up and down to invite you to their house for “possum vittles” on the fancy dining table with the six pool pockets.

Twilight Zone Address ?

A visitor or stranger to Stone County in the 1960s might feel as though he or she had actually arrived at a “Twilight Zone” address or wound up on the set of the science fiction television series “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.” Stone County citizens simply had to “warm up” and get accustom to being around a new visitor or stranger.

Stone County citizens had a different approach to visitors and strangers than neighboring Taney County.

The Reverend Harold Bell Wright’s “Shepherd Of The Hills” novel had put Forsyth, Hollister and Branson, Missouri in the national spotlight and Taney County, Missouri had become a household word in the 1960s. Meanwhile, next door, Stone County remained a mystery to most Americans.

National Political Obscurity

Stone County, Missouri, had Dewey Short, Galena’s favorite son, and the United States 7th Congressional District congressman. But, if you weren’t into national or state politics in the 1960s, then, you probably had never heard of Stone County, Missouri or Galena.

Hunters and fisherman were familiar with Stone County, Missouri.

Folklorist Vance Randolph’s stories had drawn hunters and fishermen to Stone County. Bill Rogers, a local fisherman and hunter, acted as a local guide and operated the Bill Roger’s Motel, on the banks of the James River, beside the Y Bridge.

Galena, Missouri – Float Fishing Capitol Of The World

The large painted bass on the billboard on the corner of the square bragged: Galena, Missouri – Float Fishing Capital of the World. People did come from throughout the United States to float fish the James River. Usually, they would put their canoes in at “Horse Creek” and float down the James River to the boat dock, near the Bill Roger’s Motel.

Buttermilk Springs

One reported stop along the way was a place called, “Buttermilk Springs.” Loretta Gordon told me why the stop was called Buttermilk Springs. In those days people drank buttermilk. When fisherman came to float the James River, some of the local citizens would put jars of buttermilk in the cold water to chill until the visitors in the canoes arrived. They would buy jars of buttermilk to take back home with them, before continuing their float trip on to Galena. Loretta had worked as a waitress at the Bill Rogers Motel, so I remembered her account.

Moonshine Stills Along James River

One urban legend is that Buttermilk Springs might have been a location where visitors could buy local moonshine. In Stone County, Missouri, in the 1960s, the soil allowed you to grow hay, tomatoes and corn, in relative ease. Corn is a principal ingredient in moonshine. Throughout, my childhood in the 1960s, Stone County, Missouri had a notorious reputation as a location for the production of “moonshine.”

By the late 1970s. Federal, state and local authorities were roaming the hillsides searching for marijuana plants. Still as late as the late 1980s, there were rumors of hidden “and still producing ‘moonshine stills’ in Stone County, Missouri.’”

Stone County’s Area 51 Mystique

The Area 51 Mystique Of Stone County, Missouri continues in 2010 because the overall psychology has not changed. A Stranger is still a stranger.

To become comfortable and accepted in Stone County, Missouri, there is only one thing you can do: You must live here.

“The Stone County, Missouri difference”

Living in Stone County, Missouri is unlike living any other place on the planet. I’ve lived on military bases. I lived on base in Okinawa and off base in Misawa, Japan. I lived off base in Angeles City, Philippines and off base in Bossier City, Louisiana – to name a few places. Overtime, you usually feel at home and feel as though you can blend in. Stone County, Missouri is different.

Most places I’ve lived in around the world you could choose to immerse yourself in the culture or to sit on the sidelines and be an observer. I believe to live in Stone County, Missouri, you really have to become a part of the culture.

To feel at home in Stone County, Missouri, you simply have to live here. The feeling will not come in six months or a year. It probably will be closer to 29 years before you wake up in the morning and actually feel like you belong.

If you move to Stone County, Missouri, it helps to know or have some proof that a great-grandfather or great-grandmother lived here at one time. Still, that link to the past doesn’t make you “welcome” by traditional standards.

“Newcomers”

People who move into Stone County, Missouri are called, “Newcomers.” When I was a child, in the 1960s, the only way that a “Newcomer” would be accepted is to live in Stone County 20 years. The “Old Timers” of the day referred to anyone and everyone, who moved into Stone County as a “Newcomer” until they had lived here 20 years.

That is the magick number – 20 years to be considered a “citizen of Stone County” by the “Old Timers.” Nothing under 20 mattered. If you lived in Stone County, Missouri, 19 years and 364 days and then moved, if you moved back into the county later, then, you would be called a “Newcomer.”

Find The Ancestors

Alex Haley’s book, “Roots,” had everyone tracing their ancestors in the 1970s. People talked about their ancestors. You had people trying to find their ancestors, who had served in the Civil War, on either side, In the years before computers, people took great efforts to try to trace their ancestors back to the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Mayflower.

Meanwhile, in Stone County, Missouri, the only heraldry, lineage or coat of arms that meant anything to local citizens were your grandparents. You could have been a direct descendant of General George Washington or General Robert E. Lee and Stone County citizens would of smiled and said, “That’s nice.”

The next question would have been, “Who is your grandpa ?”

Respectable Grandparents

Stone County Heraldry and Lineage in the 1960s focused on your grandparents. If your grandparents were well thought of and respected in Stone County, then, a complete “stranger” got the benefit of the doubt and it didn’t take local citizens as long to “warm up” to that person and accept the individual as a friend.

If either grandparent had been considered less than honorable in Stone County, then, the grandchild was simply considered a “newcomer.”

None of the rules were written down, but they were understood. Grandparents and Old Timers in Stone County carried weight that would be the envy of the chair people of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.

The Old Timers Of Stone County

The Old Timers Of Stone County were simply elderly men and women who had lived most if not all of their lives in the county. When they told you something it was almost always based on their lifetime experiences.

The Old Timers Game

In the 1960s, college graduates who moved into the county and decided to become farmers like to try and prove to the Old Timers that they were “wiser” and “smarter” because they had college educations. Usually, the Old Timers just shrugged off the bragging of the younger college educated farmers. Sometimes the youth went to far in bragging about their college educations from the University of Missouri, Southwest Missouri State University or the School of the Ozarks.

Then, the Old Timers would play their game. They would tell the youth something that they had observed all their lives. The Old Timers knew that human nature being what it is, most if not all, of the young farmers would ignore their lifetime wisdom and experience. The end result is The Old Timers would have the last laugh. The most certain information in the 1960s was the Memorial Day Hay information.

Memorial Day Hay

Old Timers would tell Newcomer farmers time and again: “cut, bale and get your hay out of the field before Memorial Day – May 30.” Usually, the newcomer farmers would tune into the radio, TV or read the newspaper weather report and make their decision. Through the years a lot of Stone County hay rot in the fields.

Newcomers didn’t always listen and they would almost always lose some if not all of the hay. Perhaps, it is just a freakish weather occurrence, but, even in 2010, if you have hay cut and lying in the field waiting to be baled, there is a good chance it will get rained on during the May 30 Memorial Day Weekend.

Old Timer’s Stories

An Old Timer might not know you, but, if you told him or her your grandfather or grandmother’s name, then, they would smile and start in with the stories about your grandparents. Having lived in the county all his or her life, the Old Timer would of known your grandpa probably all the way back to his grandpa or grandma. Old Timer’s in Stone County, “didn’t pull punches” in their storytelling. They would tell you their accounts and “let the chips fall where they may.” There was no political correctness, especially among the Old Timers, in Stone County in the 1960s. They were great sources of information because they would tell you stories that some families had tried for years to hide as though the event never happened. The Old Timers had long and clear memories.

Little Hoss Jennings

In my childhood, one of my favorite “Old Timers” was “Little Hoss Jennings.” A short man, about five foot two inches, who wore railroad pin stripe overalls and would sit on one of the benches underneath the large trees on the courthouse lawn. He also worked part-time as a dispatcher in the Stone County Sheriff’s Office, when it was in the courthouse I’d listen as he would tell people stories of bygone days of Stone County.

Back To Square One

Grand kids, nieces, nephews, and long long cousins, who came for the summer didn’t figure into the Stone County citizenship equation. It may have made them feel good to have spent time roaming the hills in the summer, but, if they came back years later to visit or live, then, they would be considered “Newcomers.” Basically, the person would go back to square one because “summer vacations” weren’t considered “living in Stone County.” And if none of the Old Timers remembered you, then, you were a “newcomer.”

Disownment

There are references in American history where a parent refused to acknowledge a child. Growing up in Stone County in the 1960s, there were times when you would hear of a parent or grandparent that refused to recognize a child or grandchild. Usually, the policy to “disown” a child came out of an act like a child being born out of wedlock. The family that “disowned” the child would not speak their name, nor, would they admit any type of connection to the disowned child.

Even in the 1960s, in Stone County, there were family members that could be considered “Black Sheep” because they didn’t fit into the overall family pattern. Family members considered “Black Sheep” were recognized; but, a “disowned” person simply didn’t exists by Stone County standards.

DNA’s discovery in the 1970s served to prove legal and medical issues of heritage, but, if a grandparent or grandparents had “disowned” a child, it would be the decision of later family members to admit or deny that person’s connection to the family, after the grandparent’s deaths.

Natives of Stone County

In 2010, a person can claim to be “a native of Stone County.” In the 1960s, to be “A Native Of Stone County” was like being a recipient of the Congressional Medal Of Honor. In the 1960s, if an Old Timer overheard someone making the claim of being “a native of Stone County; it wasn’t unusual for the Old Timer to call the person’s bluff on the spot/ Remarks like, “You haven’t live here that long.”

By the Old Timer’s definition: Natives of Stone County, Missouri are those people who can trace there family back at least two generations and usually three. Once, you’ve lived in Stone County for 20 years, then, you begin the process, but, by the Old Timers standards, you have to live here and raise your kids and watch your grand kids start to grow up before you could be called or considered, “a native.”

Green Horns, Tenderfoots, Tin Horns

In the 1960s, Newcomers to Stone County, Missouri were seldom taken seriously. People would move into the county with ideas. Usually in two or three years the disappointed “newcomer” would move to another city or state. Green Horns, Tenderfoots and tin horns were the names usually given to people who came to Stone County with ideas of how to change the county.

In the 1960s, Stone County was definitely a farm county. Farmers milked Holstein, Guernsey and Jersey cows. They raised Angus and Polled Hereford beef cattle. Hog farming was in it’s heyday with farmers raising Hampshire and Duroc pigs. Tomatoes, corn and hay were the crops.

Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

“The Beverly Hillbillies” TV show went on the air in the 1960s, The daily publication of Al Capp’s “Lil Abner” comic strip in newspapers contributed to America’s stereotype of the “hillbilly.” The recently opened “Silver Dollar City” and “Shepherd of the Hills attractions had people coming to Taney County like the Oklahoma Land Rush. The popularity of “The Baldknobbers” music show sprouted like corn, especially when “Hee Haw” filled the nation’s air waves. It seemed everyone wanted to see the stereotypical “hillbillies” in their native surroundings.

People who showed up with business opportunities in the 1960s, usually left frustrated. Basically, if the ideas didn’t relate to agriculture; people weren’t interested.

In the 1960s, most people farmed. Some wives worked at the garment factories in Reeds Spring or Crane. Some wives worked in the shoe factory in Marionville or the casket factory in Crane. A few people worked at the courthouse. The Stone County Sheriff’s Department from the 1960s through the early 1970s had one sheriff and usually two deputies for daily law enforcement throughout the county. There was at one point a Stone County Sheriff’s Posse, but, in the 1960s, it was usually local citizens who rode their horses in local parades.

Central Intelligence Agency World View

Neighboring Taney County always seemed to have a “Cosmopolitan View” of visitors; Stone County, Missouri had the “Central Intelligence Agency World View.”

In the 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency was the ultimate super secret agency shrouded in secrecy. Ian Fleming’s James Bond made a “spy” and the “secret agent” popular in the American culture. Despite the critics, in my lifetime, the CIA has always been known as the government agency that keeps “secrets” and gets the job done, on behalf of all Americans.

Like the CIA, Stone County, Missouri citizens “keep their secrets,” “mind their own business,” and go about their daily lives.

Basically, you live in Stone County, Missouri and over time, then, you will be accepted.

People in Stone County were always friendly, but, they never did the “Welcome Wagon” routine. You might actually live in the county several days or weeks before a local resident welcomed you to the county because the standard Ozarks mentality was people didn’t “butt in” and everyone minded “their own business.”

Moving into Stone County, Missouri didn’t mean that you were anonymous. Whether it was a single man, woman or a family; within a few days, usually a few hours, people would know your complete background and history.

Stone County Grapevine

The Stone County Grapevine of the 1960s went beyond anything Uncle Sam could come up with in the age before computers. You might not know your new neighbors, but, they would know your background and family history, within days of you moving into the county.

It didn’t matter if you moved into or near Galena, Abesville, Ponce de Leon, Crane, Cape Fair, Kimberling City, Reeds Spring,Bass Holler or a remote area in the county, within hours of your move into the county, people would know about you or would know “of you,” which meant that although they had never met you, they had already heard “stories about you.”

Your Reputation

Within days of moving into Stone County, Missouri, a newcomer would have a “reputation” based on the stories about the person that circulated around the county about the person. Whether the “reputation” was true or not did not matter, Once a person’s “reputation” got around the county; all the “newcomer” could do was either “live up to it” or try and “live it down.”

Always an unspoken factor in your reputation was that of “your parent’s reputation” and “your grandparent’s reputation.” If either of your parents or grandparents weren’t liked or thought “well of,” then, that was always a consideration in a person’s reputation.

Slow To Accept Visitors

In my lifetime, Stone County, Missouri is unique because the local culture has always been slow to accept “visitors.” The natural geography is still an obvious factor. The hills and bluffs of the countryside suggest s sense of fortification from the outside world.

The technology of the day probably contributed to the slow acceptance of visitors and strangers. The slow growth of infrastructure, no doubt, provides the continuing sense of security. In 2010, it is still basically 40 miles in any direction to the nearest hospital. However, Greene County hospitals in Springfield are accustomed to emergency medical helicopter flights into and out of Stone County, Missouri.

‘A’ Bomb Scare

When I began going to Abesville Grade School in 1960, “the A Bomb scare” was a part of life. You went to bed at night and hoped that the “Soviet Union” would not launch their nuclear missiles or that Soviet bombers would not violate U.S. airspace and drop the dreaded “Atomic Bomb.”

By the third grade, I had found the address of the U.S. Superintendent of Documents and had wrote off to request the advertised plans to “build your own underground bomb shelter” I spent the next nine years pleading and begging with my mother to build a bomb shelter.

In 1969, Momma built a pole barn for the livestock. In 1978, I joined the U.S. Air Force. I never did get my “bomb shelter.”

The “Cold War” and the whole “United States versus the Communist” psychology was a real concern in the 1960s and 1970s.

20th Century Election Night Festivities

In the 1960s and 1970s, someone would park their pickup on the street in front of the courthouse. A big chalkboard would be in the pickup bed and someone would write the incoming vote tallies on the board for everyone to see. People either crowded around the pickup or would sit across the street in Gene Hick’s Cafe and Drugstore and stare out the large glass windows as the election eve results were being written on the chalkboard. Everyone waited to see who “Would Be The Next Sheriff Of Stone County.”

Crowds of people would fill the street and move around the pickup waiting to see who the next sheriff and president would be. Once the announcement was made and the vote tallies were written on the board, then, people would head home.

No one ever cared about who would be a Stone County commissioner or county clerk in the 1960s. In the 1960s, the “Power of Stone County” was known to rest in the Sheriff’s Office.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the only elections that really mattered were “The Sheriff Of Stone County” and “The President Of The United States.” Galena was the native home of Congressman Dewey Short, until he retired in the late 1970s. Thus, in the 1960s and 1970s, it didn’t really seem to matter who would be either of Missouri’s U.S. Senators.

Perhaps, Jefferson City, the state capitol, was considered too far away at the time to worry about. I don’t remember anyone really caring about who got elected governor or any of the senators or representatives who got elected to the Missouri General Assembly.

Of course in the 21st Century, Stone County residents seem more concerned with the election results, even if the ceremony in front of the courthouse no longer occurs on election night. Jefferson City isn’t that far away after all.

Cleared for Stone County

In 2010, in Stone County, Missouri, people use their cell phones, computers, send email and have their Facebook, My Space, and Twitter accounts, which they update while watching Direct TV or Dish Network television. The cities don’t look much different than any small towns in America. And, Galena, Missouri, the county seat, is one of the eight towns in the United States known as Galena.

You simply enter and leave the county by crossing any of the shared county lines from Barry, Christian, Taney or Lawrence counties Satellites circle the globe and broadcast their radio, TV and cell phone signals into and out of Stone County.

Area 51 Mentality

Secrecy occurs naturally in Stone County, Missouri. The traditional concept of “minding your own business” is a part of the county’s natural psychology. Outgoing and friendly people might feel like they are on a Hollywood movie set for a science fiction movie on their first visit to Stone County because the local people do seem distant.

In my lifetime it has always been this way. People meet you slowly and get to know you over time. The intent is not to make anyone feel like they are in the middle of an “X Files” episode or movie.

Stone County, Missouri is not located a mile below the earth with an impressive Cheyenne Mountain type of entrance. Nor, is Stone County, Missouri located in a parallel time and space dimension that will require you to have precise mathematical calculations or mystical, magickal incantations to open or close any kind of portal.

Perhaps, the best way for a “newcomer” to ever feel at home like “a native” is to try and understand Stone County’s “Area 51 Mentality.” You live in an area of the United States where the weather is as stable as a politician’s promises – frequently changing. Stone is an accurate description of the soil. Change of all kinds: political, religious, economic, social and technological – are slow process that occurs at a snail’s pace over time in Stone County, Missouri.

Junior Warren
Writer, Photographer, Stone County, Missouri Old Timer

Stone County, Missouri US Gen Web http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mostone/stone.htm

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